Meet the Director of the Anatomy Lab at OUWB, and the Medical Students “First Patients”

College students of the William Beaumont Faculty of Drugs on the College of Auckland at all times keep in mind “affected person primary” and for the reason that college’s launch, Dan Schlegel has been a significant participant in these relationships.

the explanation?

Schlegel has labored as an anatomy laboratory at OUWB since its inception in 2011.

He’s answerable for the care of the laboratory and the donors – on this context, this primarily means individuals who made the choice earlier than loss of life to donate their our bodies to science in order that medical college students might research and really perceive the buildings throughout the human physique.

It is a distinctive operate that Schlegel says typically elicits one in every of two reactions.

“Persons are both very and ask a whole lot of questions,” he says with a smile. “Or they’re form of slowly again off.”

Regardless, Schlegel says he by no means forgets what the job is actually about.

“For me, it is all about working with college students and school to assist construct future medical doctors,” he says.

Those that work intently with Schlegel say his dedication to the function is evident.

“Dan is doing an distinctive job,” says Mali Parmkala, affiliate professor within the Division of Basis Medical Research and director of the physique donation program at OUWB.

“Through the years he has been instrumental in supporting OUWB’s post-mortem applications, and we affectionately name him ‘Dan the Man’.”

I used to be a little bit hesitant

In his administrative function, Schlegel works instantly with school at OUWB to make sure that college students have what they want in terms of learning anatomy within the lab. As well as, it helps the College of Auckland bodily remedy applications, which additionally use the laboratory.

His obligations embrace not solely transporting and getting ready donors, however guaranteeing that college students have all of the gear they want, that your entire area is maintained and maintained to the best requirements of hygiene, and that each one guidelines are adopted. For instance, college students are prohibited from taking photos within the lab.

Schlegel says his day-to-day work within the lab is guided by two ideas: the essential function donors play in serving to college students study, and the necessity to preserve respect.

Picture of Dan Schlegel talking to students
Schlegel talks concerning the Anatomy Lab Guidelines for the OUWB Class of 2026 throughout orientation in August.

“The donors primarily donate themselves earlier than loss of life…they offer every part they’ll to teach the scholars,” he says. “We respect donors as sufferers…simply because they can not hear you or reply doesn’t suggest we deal with them any much less.”

After all, the large query is: How does one develop into a director of a medical college anatomy lab?

For Schlegel, it began when he was an undergraduate on the College of Auckland, pursuing a bachelor’s diploma in well being sciences.

Throughout that point, within the mid-2000s, Schlegel had his first expertise with donors. It was totally different from the expertise medical college students had as a result of anatomical specimens had been taboo (really dissected by extra skilled anatomists).

Nevertheless, the expertise helped construct his consolation degree working with physique donors. The truth that he was at all times “scientific-minded” helped.

“As a scholar, I used to be a little bit hesitant the primary time they pulled donors in first lab class…however I’ve by no means been squeamish,” he says. “I used to be extra fascinated with understanding how issues labored.”

Quickly, Schlegel was serving to others find out how issues work as a educating assistant to Mary P., Ph.D., affiliate professor, Faculty of Well being Sciences.

When he had the chance to hitch OUWB in 2011, he took the chance.

It was a month earlier than OUWB welcomed its chartered class of fifty college students.

‘They’re extra comfy’

For the primary two semesters, the OUWB Anatomy Lab was within the basement of the College of Auckland Math and Science Middle. Schlegel stated the scenario was lower than splendid as a result of the area had no home windows, the loading dock was throughout the corridor, air flow was poor, and there have been different points.

One of many largest issues, he stated, was that the donors needed to be moved each time there was a semester.

That each one modified in 2013, when the lab was moved to the third flooring of Hannah Corridor on the College of Auckland after a whole redesign of the area that now homes the anatomy lab.

The restricted laboratory now has 37 devoted donor tables, every outfitted with a particular air flow system and a pc. The dimensions and structure of the lab permits college students to maneuver freely and never really feel cramped in a small area. Home windows line the partitions, making a shiny environment.

Schlegel says his favourite a part of the job is seeing the scholars’ growth in how they deal with donors.

“Originally of the semester, a number of the college students could be fairly (hesitant), however on the finish of the semester they’re fully immersed,” he says. “Then they return to the second semester and are extra comfy.”

Barremkala says having alum OU’s lab is useful.

“He has data of the OU’s campus and services and is utilizing this successfully for a well-functioning lab,” he says.

Schlegel additionally goes above and past to assist maintain college students heading in the right direction.

“Dan was one in every of only a few workers members who labored personally all through the pandemic and performed a key function in introducing the laboratory element of the AFCP (Anatomical Foundations of Medical Apply) course,” says Parmkala.

Trying to the long run, Schlegel says he is excited that OUWB has lately began its personal physique donation program. Thus far, OUWB has labored with different establishments such because the College of Toledo to acquire donor our bodies, that are then returned to high school on the finish of the 12 months for cremation and return to the household.

“We’ll have extra management over the embalming course of, donor choice standards, and direct contact with households, making it a little bit simpler to get the mandatory medical information,” he says. “It is actually thrilling.”

For extra info, contact Andrew Dietderich, Advertising Author, OUWB, at

To request an interview, go to the OUWB Communications & Advertising webpage.

Discover: Except in any other case famous, all articles are printed beneath a Artistic Commons Attribution 3.0 license. You might be free to repeat, distribute, adapt, transmit or use this work commercially so long as you attribute the William Beaumont Faculty of Drugs, College of Auckland as the unique creator and embrace a hyperlink to this text.

Comply with OUWB on Fb, Twitterand Instagram.